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Challengers get nod in city’s 7th, 1st Wards

Democratic Party voters in Warren’s 7th Ward will choose in next week’s Democratic primary between two experienced elected officials — incumbent Ronald White Sr. and challenger Susan Hartman.

Hartman, 64, served as the city’s 7th Ward councilwoman for six terms in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

White, 62, previously served as the city’s 4th Ward councilman in the late 1990s and early 2000s, before being elected to his current 7th Ward post.

Hartman recently spoke at length about her goal of creating city-run emergency medical service, saying it would help the city to look to the future and stop relying on mutual aide from neighboring communities’ EMS services.

“Every community that is offering EMS services are also making money on those services,” Hartman said in a written questionnaire for the Tribune Chronicle editorial board. “We are the biggest entity and need to be moving toward being reliant on ourselves.”

We consistently have disagreed with creation of any government-run service that would compete with private industry, and this effort would be no different. Warren already is served by private ambulance and EMS providers. We believe if city residents or officials are dissatisfied with that service, then we urge our elected leaders to communicate these issues and explore ways of improving the service or seek other private providers.

We believe the addition of a taxpayer-funded EMS service will add to an already heavy tax burden.

White, meanwhile, spoke at length about the need for the city to improve sidewalks. This has been an ongoing argument from White, who believes public funds and grants should be used to partner with property owners to improve sidewalks.

For many years, however, sidewalks have not been considered a city responsibility, with maintenance and upkeep instead left largely up the property owners. Shifting this financial responsibility to city coffers will extend the already stretched taxpayer burden.

Although we did not agree with these particular suggestions from each candidate, each offered other ideas we would support.

Both Hartman and White described the need for blight removal and beautification efforts, and each wants to find ways to decrease crime in the city. Also, White spoke about the importance of public officials being held accountable.

Frankly, it’s hard to disagree with any of these issues.

Hartman spoke about using grants to re-establish a Community-Oriented Police Service program to foster improved relationships between police and area youth. Hartman also suggested utilizing the former Palmyra Road fire station to create a junior fireman program where impressionable kids can meet and work with firefighters.

White also wants to develop projects for young people, suggesting stimulus funds help create a dirt bike trail for youngsters.

We believe each candidate brings sincere dedication to the city. Both White and Hartman would work hard for their city, and residents would be served equally well by either candidate.

While we disagreed with her suggestion for a city-run EMS service, overall, we liked Hartman’s other suggestions, and we believe she would be the better choice for 7th Ward voters.

WARREN’S 1ST WARD

In the contested race in Warren’s 1st Ward, we will support newcomer Amanda Powell-Hebert, 54, who is challenging two-term incumbent Larry Larson, 70, for the Democratic nomination. Larson, a General Motors retiree, has held the council seat since 2013.

If elected, Powell-Hebert, a volunteer at local animal shelters, said her top goal would be updating legislation defining animal abandonment and guidelines for dogs housed outdoors.

Larson did not return a candidate questionnaire and declined an interview with the Tribune Chronicle editorial board, required to participate in the newspaper’s endorsement process.

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